The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) predicts that for the first time, digital advertising dollars will be greater than print dollars in 2012 - $40 billion to $36 billion respectively. Certainly a case can be made for print advertising campaigns, particularly for professional and trade education magazines that target school and district leadership. However, it is clear that digital advertising provides opportunities to engage readers in ways that print ad campaigns cannot.
All advertising increases brand awareness and some print ads can be direct response oriented, but only digital advertising can be fully interactive and lead the reader/prospect/customer somewhere you want them to go all the while measuring their response and activity.
Digital ads are not just an online extension of print ads although print and digital campaigns should be integrated. High-engagement media like video and games can be embedded into digital ads to increase response and extend the amount of time a reader engages with the brand. Traditional brand wisdom holds that the longer a consumer interacts with a brand, the more positive they are about it. The interactive nature of digital advertising enables this engagement in new ways and is only limited by imagination. Fortunately, the cost to test different offers with appropriate landing pages is low; and analytics tools make it easy to assess which ads are the most effective.
Segmentation by position or title is often a component of successful direct response campaigns. Now advertising networks provide similar profiling across multiple websites. Simple one-stop shopping can place your ads on all websites in a particular ad network or just a chosen few based on your customer profile. You can test the same offer over multiple, but similar, audiences or you can test offers against each other. When testing across an ad network is integrated with an email campaign, you increase the likelihood of success, and you can quickly assess which offers will provide the greatest return on investment.
In the first days of online advertising, ads were primarily digital billboards with no ability to measure viewers or click throughs. Now multimedia technology offers a variety of ways to engage the reader and multiple ways to track activity. Also, more than just the technology has evolved. Since the modern consumer is so adept at avoiding advertising and marketing messages, it might surprise you to learn that 33% of consumers now say they believe messages from banner ads – up from 26% five years ago according to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Survey.
Of course, this still means that two out of three viewers/readers do not necessarily believe the banner ad messages. But how do we explain such a significant increase in brand trust? It could be that the increased engagement that digital advertising provides is enough for readers to rank the brand more positively. It could also mean that more of the targeted ads are the right offer at the right time to the right prospect.
When used as part of a segmented, integrated marketing strategy, digital advertising offers a level of engagement that goes beyond brand building to building sustainable relationships with customers and prospects.